To be fit as a fiddle, vegetable and fruits need to be a major part of one’s diet. It is the secret to a long life, youthful looks and overall health. In this range of vegetables, the gourd is one of the categories of produce that makes your skin and hair glow while keeping your body active.
It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family and there are diverse varieties and species. The fleshy fruit grows on coiled vines or climbing tendrils. They come in an astounding array of shapes and sizes. Popular as squash or pumpkin, these fruits have a hard shell.
Adverse to cold, gourds need warm clime, well-drained soil which is fertile and a fence to support the vines. There are various types of gourds grown in India. Let us have a look at some of the common gourds that are available in the bazaar.
Who hasn’t heard of or tasted the delectable ‘doodhi ka halwa?’ This neon-green fruit is more known as ‘doodhi or lauki’ than anything else. Nutritious, it is great for those who want to lose weight. It is also good for the liver and heart. Squeezing it to get the juice and drinking it, is the most effective way of consuming it, especially if taken post a workout. It is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar. Its botanical name is Lagenaria siceraria.
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It is also called Karela or Karli as its place of origin is Kerala. It has a rough, pimpled green exterior, cream-coloured flesh and a bitter taste. It tops the ranks as the most nutritious gourd as it has immense medicinal value. Karela juice is known to help diabetics. It also helps in building immunity, purifying the blood and improving gut health. Bitter gourd can be cooked in various ways. Fry it to get that incredible tasty crunch or cook it like a vegetable but with coconut oil which gives the dish an irresistible flavour. In the gourd family, it is a tropical or subtropical vine and is mainly cultivated in Telangana, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
So, does your menu have crispy Karela fries? Then click here to order your stock of bitter gourd.
This is a gourd that is packed with nutrition. Its botanical name is Benincasa hispida or winter melon. It is known to help and reduce acidity, keeps the gut in good health and reduces the risk of stomach ulcers. It prevents internal bleeding as it has anticoagulant properties. Ash gourd is grown mainly in North Indian states because the climate is suitable for it. Agra is famous for “Petha,” a tasty and crunchy sweet dish prepared from it. A large number of Indian dishes are made from ash gourd.
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It goes by various names and is a common man’s staple vegetable. Versatile and fibre-rich, it is used to prepare many dishes all over the country. It has a unique exterior with ridges and has a mildly crunchy bite. The ridges on it give this veggie its characteristic name. It helps in digestion and aids to control diabetes. MP, Maharashtra and Orissa are the leaders in cultivating this gourd.
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Not to be confused with chow-mein, this pear-shaped vegetable has thorny skin and retains its crispiness even after it is cooked. It is also called chayote or Bangalore brinjal and belongs to the melon and cucumber subdivision of the gourd family. It grows best in cool, moisture-rich climates. Rich in vitamin C, it is commonly used in sambhar. The root, leaves, stem and seeds are edible. It is known to neutralise acidity and grows abundantly in Meghalaya.
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Gourds are a staple food for Indians
As gourds are tasty, and nutritious and find a favourable climate, they are a staple food in India. Besides being cooked in regular vegetable style, a wide variety of food dishes can be prepared from them.
Delicious pickle which complements food dishes like masala rice, parathas etc. is made from bitter gourd.
To make food dishes yummier use some chow-chow.
Grate doodhi for some flavour in raita.
Various types of sponges are made from sponge gourd which is used for cleaning vessels, surfaces etc. in the house.
Some gourd is grown as an ornamental fruit. It is dried to use as utensils, cups, fishnet floats, bottles, pipes and other useful items.